The Hand That 'Rocks The Cradle' Rocks Electronics

Is the 2013 holiday season going to trend toward an improvement in marketing consumer electronics to women? Or is a quick retooling needed to improve sales?

Last year, there was a lot of buzz about research indicating women are the prominent electronic buyers of tablets, laptops and smartphones and only slightly behind men in the purchase of large-screen televisions. Questions were posed at the time about what this information would mean to the way these products would be positioned in the future.

With the launch of new Apple products and the holiday season approaching, has this research influenced consumer electronics’ retailer perspective and promotional tactics this year? Are we still seeing young males held up as the prominent buyer in direct and digital channels?

First, a review of findings from research that fueled the initial conversation:

  • Women spend more on consumer electronics than men.
  • Women influence 89% of consumer electronics purchase decisions.
  • Women’s digital habits outpace men with a greater propensity to watch full-length TV shows online, play Facebook games as well as download and upload pictures.
  • One-third of women consider themselves to be early adopters of consumer electronics.



Given these observations, what are retail strategies for connecting with female buyers, especially moms? What types of messaging can consumer electronics retailers use that amplify what she is hearing in other channels and solidify her decision-making process?

1. She’s in control whether directly engaged or observing. In the home buying, house flipping and DIY improvement shows, virtually every woman says, “I want open concept – to see my kids playing and feel part of the conversation.” It’s typical in advertising to see a close-up of mom and child watching TV or interacting on a tablet. But broadening the story to show mom also observing electronic play in an “open concept” living space displays a more real-world or aspirational venue.

2. Celebrate the story of empowerment and ease of use. Technology can be the ends and the means to an end. Women may want to use their gadgets for entertainment, keeping up with friends through social networks or shopping. Conversely, they may want to focus on the future through banking, researching weekend family activities or vacation planning. Take a note from the financial sector. The message they often promote is that technology is the activator that allows you to more fully experience life. Find the balance between enriching the consumers’ life today as well as fulfilling dreams for tomorrow. 

3. Life is better through conversation. As many political polls have indicated recently, voters want more conversation and ways to dialogue across differences, distances and issues. Show how retailers are bringing people together through technology, beyond just the nuclear family, and building conversations that may not have occurred without it.

4. Tell a story and make it simple. Retailers rely on presenting product benefits and brand value. When the story gets too complicated, buyers can lose the thread. Sports channels often are really good at analyzing complex issues and boiling it down to a simple solution or analogy. If mom is used to watching sports, she is comfortable with not focusing on all the stats, but wanting the punch line. If it piques her interest, she will dig into the details to the degree she desires. 

5. Moms come in all ages. While it is visually appealing to see a mom with young children, the holidays are a time when older moms are also out buying for their grown children and families. They perceive consumer electronics as a family gift that allows different family members to all have a unique age-appropriate experience that can live onward long beyond the holiday season. Show this consumer also in retail promotions and how buying consumer electronics fits into solving her holiday buying needs.

Consumer electronics retailers may want to revisit their holiday campaigns and analyze if they have adequately spoken to moms and rewarded her for her role in choosing electronics. The more she realizes that retailers understand her as well as her preferences in electronic purchases, the more affinity she is likely to bring to that retailer in the purchase decision cycle.

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